Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What Are You Hanging On To?
Dan Lamos
Mark 12:38-44

We often need to be reminded that we are only on this earth for a short time. Compared to eternity our life here is a blip on the screen. The Bible teaches us that many people will be surprised at the rewards they do or do not receive in eternity (Matthew 25:31-46). The way we live and the reasons behind the things we do are what really matter to God.

Here we read about a poor woman who saw the love of her life pass away.
Not only did she lose her husband but she was also left with only a few coins. Can you imagine what might have been going through her mind as she held those coins in her hand? Something powerful must have motivated her to give all she had in the offering that day.

Perhaps desperation and faith in her God drove her to give away those coins. I believe she knew God was her protector and would not leave her alone. She may have been helpless, but she wasn’t hopeless.

Jesus is pretty hard-core when it comes to giving our whole lives over to Him. Sometimes you will go through times when you feel hopeless.
Everything seems to be in chaos and everything you have has been ripped away. You shouldn’t be surprised if God’s solution involves your letting go of those last few things you have been hanging on to so tightly.

If you feel like you want to give up, remember that God loves you but He won’t feel sorry for you. He is ready to lift you up if you will humble yourself and give over to His control whatever you are still
hanging onto. He is your help when you feel helpless.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Tough Assignment
Dan Lamos
1 Kings 17:8-16

When it comes to really trusting Jesus Christ to provide everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) most of us need some extra motivation. I heard someone say, “You don’t find out that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” A lot of us miss some amazing things God wants to do because we have too many other things and people to rely on.

The lady in this scripture had nothing. She had gathered a few sticks for a fire to cook one last meal. She figured unless a miracle happened she and her son would die from starvation. But God had a surprise for her.

The Bible says God commanded her to feed Elijah. She was broke and her shelves were empty. She probably wondered when God was going to come
through for her. Have you ever wondered that about God in your life?

God wanted her to trust Him completely before He provided for her needs. She would have to have faith and put God’s command and Elijah’s needs before her own.

God did come through, but first this woman had to give away most of the very little she had. Even when we are at our most desperate point and feel the most helpless, God will still ask us to act on what we say we believe about His taking care of us.

Make sure you don’t miss out on God’s huge surprise by being stubborn and disobedient about what He asks you to do for Him. You never know
what surprises God has planned for you if you will obey.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I really enjoy the opportunity to write for a group called Barefoot Ministries. I thought I would post of few of my entrys here. I hope they encourage you.

Monday November 6, 2006
Who Fills the Empty Places?
Dan Lamos
Psalm 68:5-6

As I read Psalm 68, I imagined David letting his thoughts run wild as he filled himself with God’s greatness. He overflowed with images of God as a champion on behalf of His people, the loving God who carries
all our burdens. God had grabbed his heart.

Everybody is looking for someone they can trust completely. Even little kids figure out who their “number one best friend” is going to be that day. But no human being will always hold your trust or never fail you in some way. God is the only one worthy of all your trust.

We have all been created with a need to meaningfully connect with another person. From the beginning God said it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). It is awesome to have people we love around us. When someone you love and depend on is taken out of your life you feel empty and wonder, “What will I do now?”

Today’s scripture reminds us that God will fill the empty places in our lives. He is a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows. If you are in a situation like this, you can own this promise for sure.
God is ready to fill whatever emptiness you feel right now. If you are at the end of yourself and you don’t know where to turn next, just take some time and let God know how you feel. If you humbly ask Him to fill your empty places in Jesus’ name you will be amazed how He will come
through for you again and again.

Friday, October 27, 2006

"Reality is like a fine wine..." Donald Miller

Does life run according to formulas? I believe that living by formulas cheapens life and distracts us from true love. I read this paragraph from the book "Searching for God Knows What" by Donald Miller last night. It struck a positive and strong chord in me. Formula theories about life have always bothered me. How about you?

"A few weeks later I learned an invaluable lesson from a wealthy and successful businessman here in Portland who owns a chain of coffee shops. A few of us were sitting in one of his shops one morning, and another friend asked if we had seen the World Series of Poker on television the night before. None of us had, but that mention led to a conversation about gambling. My friend who owns the coffee shops told us in a tone of kindness and truth, that nobody he knows who is successful gambles; rather they work hard, they accept the facts of reality; they enjoy life as it is. 'But the facts of reality stink,' I told him. 'Reality is like a fine wine,' he said to me. 'It will not appeal to children.' And I am grateful my friend stung me in that way, because this truth helped me to understand and appreciate life itself, as it is, without the false hope formulas offer. I didn't read formula books after that because reality is like fine wine. I am quite snobby about it, if you want to know the truth." - D. Miller

Do you think that relying on formulas in life distracts us from true love?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

This is a short story written by John Lamos. Thought you might like to read it...
The Guitar
by John Lamos

Tom had been in the attic for hours now going through his father’s belongings. It had been a week since his father’s death. He had had a heart attack randomly one afternoon. The family had mourned his death all week, but Tom thought it was time to move on in his life.

His father left a will saying Tom had received a few random things that he didn’t really care about. There was one thing that caught his eye on the list though. His father’s old acoustic guitar that Tom had started his dreams as a musician. As a child his father taught him everything about music and the guitar. All through the years Tom became an excellent musician and his dream was to make it his career. But everyone told him to leave that dream behind and pursue something that would actually happen. He was now attending law school, trying to love it, but the dream of music was still there.

The guitar case was at the back of the attic collecting dust. Ducking under the beams holding the roof up, Tom made it to the guitar case. He sat down and laid the case on his lap and opened it. The smell that came out the second he opened it was as familiar as it was when he was a child. The smell of the wood and guitar polish. Tom pulled the guitar out of his case and replaced the case with the guitar on his lap. He was picking an old song his father had taught him when he saw a letter at the bottom of the case. He picked up the envelope and opened it. Inside was a letter. Tom pulled it out of the envelope and he read the work “Tom” on the top of the letter. The paper felt old and a little dust covered it. Opening it he knew exactly whose handwriting it was. It was his father’s. It read:

Dear Son,
If you are reading this I have left you all and am now in a better
place. Don’t be sad, I’ve run my course and have received the
ultimate prize. I have left you this guitar because you are the
one that would appreciate it the most. Both our fingertips have slid
across this neck, making music happen. Songs have been written
by both of us. Keep this gift forever, and maybe someday you
can pass it on to your son. Keep my song alive with this. I know
this isn’t a huge gift to you, but I hope it means something. I miss
miss you and I love you. Use this to live your dreams!

Tears came to Tom’s eyes when he read the last line. His father had known about his dreams his whole life. Tom’s father had worked hard with Tom to make sure it would happen. Tom owed it to himself and his father to take this guitar and make a name for himself. He decided from now on, for as long as it took him, he would get out there and do what he loved so much. Make music. It would take more work than he could imagine, but it would be worth it.
Tom set the guitar in the case, latched it up and headed down the ladder and back into the old house. His mother met him at the door, kissed him, and watched him walk onto the street. He opened the back seat of his Jetta and set the guitar on the seat. Today was one of the best days of his life. His mind was opened to a whole new kind of thinking. He hadn’t been this excited for a long time.

The drive home took about 45 minutes. It was enough time to think everything over. He had close friends that would join him on his journey. A drummer, bassist, and another guitarist. Just thinking of the future made shivers go through his body. A few phone calls and everything could start up. Maybe.

He drove into the school just as it was getting hard. He grabbed the guitar and walked to his dorm. Jake, his roommate, must be out because the lights were off. A little time to himself could be good. He set the guitar beside his bed and lay down on the bed. He just laid there thinking of screaming crowds, the hot lights, and the amazing feeling of that opening song.
Tom’s dreams were filled with excitement the whole night. He dreamt of stages and lights. Screams of excitement filled his ears. He saw crowds by the thousands waiting for him to step out to the stage. He could feel the heat from the stage lights on his face. Tom awoke at that moment and realized the heat was just the sun coming through his window. He sat up and said, “What an amazing night!.”

Tom got out of bed and headed to the kitchen to grab some breakfast. He got a bowl and set in on the counter and went for the cereal when he noticed a family notebook on the counter. Tom hadn’t seen this book for years! Last time he saw this was when he graduated from high school three years ago and left it with his mother. This book had hundreds of Tom’s songs inside. Pages were full of lost lover, anger and encouragement. All through high school he had written these songs, but he left it at his home because he was giving up his dreams. Now it was here somehow.

He opened the cover and noticed this mother’s handwriting. She had written:

I know you have always wanted this to be your life. After
seeing you with the guitar yesterday I decided you might
need this too. I love you, and I’ll be behind you the whole
time. Do what you love.

Tears filled Tom’s eyes again. His mother had always loved his songs and encouraged him to go far with it. This just meant so much more then the other times they had talked. He wiped a tear that was making its way down his cheek.

Tom flipped though memories. Memories of lying in his bed at night and writing lyrics about the girl that had broken his heart, or just writing words that brought him comfort. Then he found a page he had forgotten about. A page that said at the top “My Dreams”. On that page was written Tom’s heart. His passion. There were his dreams of music. The same dreams he had the night before. Suddenly joy and encouragement filled his heart and he knew right then that he could make these dreams, that seemed so far away, be a reality.
Okay, what about computer games? I invest time pretty much every day in a goofy little game called Runescape. I pour too much time into it I'm sure. It's sort of funny for a man my age to be playing RS. But, I got into it as a youth pastor. Great way to connect with the students from our youth group who play. The funny thing is alot of them have moved on to other games. They have left me behind... lol. Anyway, I'm playing as I write this rambling blog. So Im wondering what other people are doing for a distraction these days. Hey, if you are looking for one... runescape.com Come join me in my quest for yet another level... lol.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

On Sunday mornings I lead a High School bible study. It's a great group of students... most of them are there because their parents bring them along. They would probably come most of the time anyway if they were given a choice. We have great conversations about what the Bible says and whether or not our lives are showing that we really get this idea of following Jesus. Last Sunday we were talking about being rich. As North Americans we are already rich compared to most of the world's population. I asked the group this question; "What if we find out in the end that the most important issue for God concerning our lives was how generous we were in this life?". We all felt that it was a good question. We had just watched a video that told us the best question in life is not "What can I get?" but "What can I give?" Wow, I don't feel much like giving today. But, there is a stirring inside that does know that giving is the best thing I can do. I hope I go with that stirring today.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Been reading Donald Miller's book "Blue Like Jazz" lately. Wow, does it ever resonate with my soul. It made me hungry to experience this life as fully as possible. For whatever reason, God has ordained for me to be alive now. I know that this earthly existence is not all there is. But, it is what I have today. God's kingdom is within me according to Jesus. He also said that His kingdom is at hand. So, I guess that means that experiencing how His kingdom energy and life colors this moment is right at my finger tips... hmmm... What do you think?